tv PBS News Hour PBS December 23, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: in the first of two head-turning foreign policy movies today: the u.s. abstains from a u.n. security council vote that condemns israel for its settlements, opening up a public spit between the current and future president. then: president-elect trump calls for an arms race, vowing to expand the u.s.' nuclear weapons arsenal and sending a ripple through the international community. and it's friday. mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. plus, service men and women from around the world celebrate the holidays with their rendition of "12 days of christmas." >> ♪ on the third day of christmas my true love sent to
possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: president obama has broken with decades of defending israel with the u.s. veto at the united nations. today, the u.s. abstained, despite pressure from jerusalem and president-elect trump. the vote was 14 to nothing, as the security council condemned israeli settlement building on lands the palestinians want. ambassador samantha power defended the u.s. decision. >> the united states has been sending a message that the settlements must stop privately and publicly for nearly five decades. our vote today is fully in line
with the bipartisan history of how american presidents have approached both issues and the role of this body. >> woodruff: israel rejected the resolution and the u.s. abstention, and so did top republicans in congress. house speaker paul ryan called the administration's action "absolutely shameful". and south carolina senator lindsey graham said the president's foreign policy "has gone from naive and foolish to flat-out reckless." president-elect trump who had urged the white house to veto the resolution tweeted that "things will be different after january 20th"-- when he takes office. we'll get the white house perspective, right after the news summary. the president-elect also added more fuel to the fire today over his views on nuclear weapons. john yang has that story. >> welcome back to "morning joe." >> reporter: a christmas-themed
cable morning show was the messenger for president-elect trump's latest salvo on the national's nuclear arsenal. mr. trump called msnbc's mika brzezinski during a commercial break. >> the president-elect told you what? >> let it be an arms race. we'll outmatch them at every pass. >> and outlast them all. >> and outlast them all. >> reporter: later, on nbc's "today," newly named white house press secretary sean spicer tried to clarify. >> but if there's going to be an arms race-- >> there's not going to be. >> that's what he said, so be it? we will match them at every turn? >> there's not going to be 'cause he's going to ensure that other countries get the message that he's not going to sit back and allow that. and what's going to happen is, they will come to their senses, and we will all be just fine. >> reporter: it was all part of the ongoing fallout from the president-elect's tweet yesterday: earlier, russian president vladimir putin had addressed top military officials in moscow: >> ( translated ): we need to strengthen combat capability of
strategic nuclear forces, first of all by reinforcing missile complexes that will be able to reliably penetrate existing and future missile defense systems. >> reporter: today, putin told a year-end news conference that russia does not want "an arms race that we can't afford." >> ( translated ): regarding the newly elected president trump, there is nothing new here. he was talking during his campaign about the importance of strengthening the nuclear aspect of the united states. there is nothing unusual. >> reporter: today, mr. trump released a letter the russian leader sent him on december 15th. president putin called for "real steps" to restore "bilateral cooperation." mr. trump said: chinese foreign ministry officials said they're watching
closely, too. >> ( translated ): we have noticed the relevant reports, and are also paying attention to what policies the new u.s. government will adopt. china always upholds and actively advocates the complete ban and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. >> reporter: it's not clear whether mr. trump is signaling a change in the four-decades old u.s. policy of working for nuclear arms reduction. in 2010, president obama signed a new arms-reduction treaty with russia placing further limits on each nation's arsenal. in addition, the united states is moving forward with a program to upgrade america's aging nuclear stock pile, at an estimated cost of $1 trillion. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang >> woodruff: in the day's other news: the f.b.i. warned that islamic state supporters are urging attacks on u.s. holiday gatherings and churches, over christmas. that's in a bulletin from the f.b.i. and the department of
homeland security. there are no specific threats, but a list of u.s. churches has been posted on a social media site used by the militants. police in italy have killed the man who allegedly plowed a truck into a christmas market in berlin, germany. monday night's attack killed a dozen people. early today, anis amri was shot dead in milan. it came hours after the islamic state group released a video statement he made. rohit kachroo of "independent television news" reports from berlin. >> where and when it was filmed is not clear, but the sentiment is emphatic -- he pledges allegiance to the i.s.i.s. leader. a video selfie, apparent proof he was inspired by the group. this morning, his body lay on the ground in milan after a thatout with police. later, the italian interior minister confirmed the manhunt
was over. >> the person killed, and this is the result of the investigation, is without a shadow of a doubt anis amri, the suspect of the terrorist attack in berlin. >> reporter: after monday's attack at the christmas market, he was spotted outside a market in the early hours of tuesday morning. he left germany for france, traveling to shambury in the country's southwest making a train journey before boring another train to milan. from the city's central station, it was then on to giovanni where he was shot dead by police where he opened fire during a routine check at 3:00 a.m. this morning. chancellor angela merkel announced a review of security and all the issues this case exposed. >> i told the president we will speed up the repatriation
process and increase the number of people who will be repatriated. >> reporter: he is no longer wanted, the man who slipped through net after net. although the manhunt is now over, what investigators can't see is whether there were more suspects involved in planning this plot. >> woodruff: this evening, president-elect trump tweeted that the amri video statement showed "such hatred," and he asked, "when will the u.s. and all countries fight back?" in libya: two hijackers seized an airliner today-- and threatened to blow it up with hand grenades. the plane was commandeered on a domestic flight to tripoli, and diverted north to the island of malta. the passengers were allowed to leave after lengthy negotiations, and after that, the hijackers surrendered. the two men declared loyalty to the late dictator moammar gaddafi. russian president putin has dismissed allegations that the kremlin tried to influence the
u.s. elections. at his year-end news conference today, he brushed aside complaints about russian hacking. >> ( translated ): the current u.s. administration and the democratic party leadership are trying to blame external factors for all their problems. they are losing on all fronts, and looking elsewhere for things to blame. in my opinion it is humiliating. one must be able to lose with dignity. >> woodruff: putin also said that president-elect trump won because he understood the mood of the american people. china warned today of a possible "showdown" with the incoming trump administration over trade. the state-run "china daily" strongly criticized peter navarro, named to lead a new white house national trade council. he's accused china of waging economic war. in an editorial, the newspaper said: and on wall street: the dow jones industrial average gained nearly 15 points to close at
19,933. the nasdaq rose 15 points, and the s&p 500 added nearly three. for the week, all three indexes rose a fraction of a percent. still to come on the newshour: why the u.s. broke a longstanding practice of protecting israel at the u.n., what to make of the president- elect's nuclear arms comments, a new ebola vaccine that's 100% effective, and much more. >> woodruff: so why did the obama administration abstain from voting on the united nations security council resolution condemning israeli settlements in the west bank and east jerusalem? we ask ben rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications to the president. ben rhodes, welcome. it is the case that the u.s. has
long opposed these israeli settlements but, at the same time, it has protected israel and the u.n. against these condemning resolutions. why the shift? >> well, look, first of all, it's bipartisan tradition to opposed settlements, as you mentioned. there have been many resolutions in the past under bipartisan administrations that address the arab-israeli conflict. we addressed a conflict that addressed resolutions in the settlements and we've had failed peace processes, and the pace of failed construction, and this is the most pro settlement in history, the currenty government in plates. we believe a two-state nation would be put at risk and would be bad for israel and its security and that's why the president took the position he did. >> woodruff: it looks like a
parting shot at israel on the part of president obama. >> well, look, we have a record that we'll put up next to anybody in terms of support to israel. we just conclude add $38 billion ten year m.o.u. with respect to their security assistance from the united states. the fact of the matter is, though, i think if you look at the map of the west bank, if you look at the future of the two-state solution, these settlements are encroaching further and further beyond the separation barrier the israelis themselves built, thousands of new settlements are being constructed and, frankly, if these trends continue, it will be impossible to realize a two-state solution and the fact of the matter is we can't just have a peace process or a two-state solution as an empty talking point. if we really want to be able to have a prospect for peace, we have to be clear about what we're against and that includes the type of settlements and i would say as the resolution points out the type of incitement to violence on the palestinian side at the have been obstacles to peace. >> woodruff: let me just read you what among other things the
comments from prime minister netanyahu after this happened. he said the national security council disgracefully ganged up on the one democracy in the middle east. the israeli government is saying this was a shameful resolution and they're not going to abide by it. is the president -- are you comfortable with what is now a really raw opening, a sore spot in the relationship with israel as this president leaves office? >> look, we've taken a lot of criticism from the israeli government over the years. if you look at our record, unprecedented military intelligence cooperation, a significant security assistance upgrades, and let's talk about this resolution addressed, the settlement construction. that's the conversation at the the israeli government is not having. in fact, you had this prime minister say this is the most pro-settlement israeli government in history. frankly, that statement is entirely inconsistent with the two-state solution that the
israeli government in the past said they supported, that many members of congress support. at a certain point, we all just have to stop and look at the map and look at the facts and say, if these settlements conte, is the two-state solution impossible? and that clearly is the trend line. it's evident for everybody to see, and that's what we should be talking about. >> woodruff: president-elect trump, as you foe, urged the white house to veto this resolution condemning israel. we know he was in touch with the president of egypt to try to intervene. was this appropriate on his part? >> well, we believe that there is one president at a time. frankly, after january 20, the president-elect will get to pursue this approach and whatever other one he wants on these issues. this is bipartisan to consider settlements. i keep hearing this is unprecedented. six resolutions under george w. bush addressed the
israeli-palestinian conflict including one that embraced the road map president bush put forward by a facilitiesian state by 2005, over a decade ago. if we are against the settlement activity and for a two-state solution, why are we going to continue with the status quo, trends on both sides that are putting peace farther away? >> woodruff: you know the republican leadership in the congress is raining down now with criticism, the incoming democratic leader in the senate, senator schumer from new york, is criticizing this decision. sounds like the administration is, if not alone, certainly is in the minority on this position today. >> well, look, we respect, of course, friends on both sides of the aisle who have expressed
different views on this. again, i think the question is going to be when people look back and say, you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed, you saw as was addressed in the resolution divide on the palestinian side. the question is do we not have responsibility to lay down a marker here about what we think is actual u.s. policy? you have a resolution that is entirely consistent with the policy, how can we continue to veto that over and over again? >> finally, is the president comfortable with this knowing that vice president lect trump is saying he's going to undo this as soon as he takes office in a few weeks? is it orthoit? >> we believe it's worth it. we believe it's worth saying this is where we stand and it's entirely consistent with our policy for decades. samantha power and experts at the u.n. quoted ronald reagan in 1982 expressing opposition to settlements. this is not a new u.s. position.
the fact of the matter is if we're serious about achieving peace, we need to stand behind the things we believe? >> woodruff: ben rhodes, deputy national security advisor to the president. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: we return to president-elect trump's comments about the need to build up the united states' nuclear arsenal. and to john yang for that. >> reporter: are the president- elect's tweets and comments signaling a change in u.s. nuclear weapons policy? and should the nation beef up its nuclear arsenal? we turn to: matthew kroenig, an associate professor at georgetown university who's written extensively about nuclear weapons, and joseph cirincione, the president of the ploughshares fund, a non-profit organization that advocates for
disarmament. he, too, has written widely on the subject. gentlemen, thank you both for joining us. mr. cirincione, let me start with you, when you hear or read the president-elect saying that the united states must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability and then say this morning let it be an arms race, what's your reaction? >> stunned. an ill-considered, disrespectful and dangerous series of statements. this would upend decades of republican and democratic policy that ever since ronald reagan has been reducing nuclear arsenals both in the united states and russia and around the world, stopping other countries from getting nuclear weapons. by using the word "expand" he says he wants to grow the arsenal or capabilities. nobody is against keeping a strong nuclear deterrent. if that's all he said, we wouldn't be having this debate. president obama put in train a
trillion-dollar program to replace every single nuclear weapon we have over the next 25 years. donald trump seems to be saying he wants to go ahead with this. his advisors tried to walk it back, but he himself said this morning, let it be an arms race. that is an extremely dangerous posture, that's why people all over the globe are worried and talking about this today. >> yang: matthew kroenig, what's your take? >> the statement is certainly controversial but i think trump is basically write. nuclear policy in the u.s. can't be static, it has to respond to international politics and all america's nuclear armed rivals are expanding and revolutionizing their arsenals. so it doesn't make sense for us to reduce our arsenal as our adversaries are going in the other directions, and other countries are relying more not less on nuclear weapons in their strategy so the united states needs to take that into account in forming its own nuclear posture so strengthening of u.s.
nuclear strategy and posture has been long overdue. >> yang: matthew kroenig, when you say the united states shouldn't be reducing its arsenal, but isn't that what's called for under an existing treaty with russia? >> the new star start treaty was signed in 2011. according to the treaty, both can have 1550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons. now the united states is under 200 or so warheads. the russians are 250 warheads above. so there is a gap of about 400 warheads that's worrying in and of itself and raises questions about whether russia intends to follow through on the agreement not. so this is a measure a president could take to strengthen the arsenal at least to the limits allowed for under new start. >> yang: you're shaking your head. >> it's true, we both have about 7,000 warheads in our inventory and the ones the treaty counts, we're a couple hundred under,
but we have more launchers, missiles and delivery vehicles, we're a couple hundred over what the russians are. but at these levels, it doesn't matter. we both have enough weapons to destroy the world selves times over. we don't need to expand. this the real problem is when the u.s. and russia together, having 95% of the weapons in the world, when we say we need more, what is china to think if they have about 200. do they start building more? what about india and pakistan? that's the big worry, this ill-considered tweet could launch a global arms race. twitter is fine for criticizing alec baldwin but don't use it for u.s. policy. mr. trump, step away from the twitter. >> yang: thoughts on that. there's a 400 warhead difference, i think it matters and even if we don't think it matters, the russians rely more on nuclear weapons in their strategy so i think they think the difference matters and they
say, see this u.s. failure to respond to some of their actions as sign of weakness. and in terms of this idea that if we recuse duce our arsenal and somehow china and other countries will come along, we've seen it massent worked that the united states reduced its arsenal and other countries have gone in the other directions. so i don't see it as the united states starting an arms race. it's responding to what's going on in the other countries. i think a failure to respond would be dangerous and would incentivize furtherrish nuclear aggression. >> yang: even if this is a won't case of the obama policy to modernize the arsenal, you think even the obama policy is a bad idea? >> absolutely. the very first thing general mattis will find out when he takes over as secretary of defense is we don't have the money to pay for the programs that are on the books. for example, the navy goes ahead and builds a whole new fleet of ballistic missile submarines in the next decade, it has to cut its conventional navy by 50%.
who would make that kind of choice? so these are some of the considerations that will face the new administration. here's the up side of the -- let's say this is all about negotiating leverage, this is mr. trump opening up closed issues, looking for bargaining in ahead of his meeting with vladimir putin which will probably occur in the beginning of next year. here's where he could cash in, take a page from ronald reagan, negotiate with putin, deep cuts in both sides, get rid to have the unnecessary weapons we don't need, save hundreds of billions of dollars to use for conventional forces, and really make a name for himself. this could be the deal of a lifetime. this would put him in the history books and then we won't be talking about these silly tweets. >> yang: what about that? he's a dealmaker, businessman, talks about trying to keep his negotiating opponents off balance and that sort of thing. can we learn anything or take anything from this about what kind of foreign policy
president trump will be? >> two points. first, on the modernization, he is outside the mainstream. there is a bipartisan consensus the united states needs to modernize the arse navment that was obama administration's policy. joe also raised the issue of cost. but the cost to have modernization programs, $1 trillion over 30 years comes to about 5% of the u.s. defense budget. so current secretary of defense ash carter said this is the bedrock of our security. former secretary o secretary ofe chuck hagel said it's the most important megs of the department of defense. i don't think anybody thinks 5% is too much. on your question what is the signal of president trump's foreign policy, it's difficult to see if this is a change in u.s. foreign policy. all eve to go on is a couple of tweets and statements. it may continuing president
obama's policy with modernization, or it may mean strengthening. there are things the u.s. can do to strengthen deterrence. >> yang: joseph cirincione, matthew kroenig, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next, a long looked-for breakthrough in the battle against the deadly ebola virus. one experimental vaccine has been shown to be 100% effective on humans. hari sreenivasan has the story. >> reporter: the results of a two-year trial led by the world health organization were published in the journal "lancet" yesterday. they showed that of nearly 6,000 people vaccinated in guinea last year, none had contracted ebola after a ten day period. while in the group not vaccinated, 23 cases developed. the vaccine still needs regulatory approval, but is considered so effective that some 300,000 doses have already
been stockpiled. the 2014 ebola epidemic in west africa killed 11,000 people. for more on this promising news, we turn once again to dr. anthony fauci. he's director of the national institute for allergy and infectious diseases, and has long been involved in vaccine development. dr. fauci, everyone's pretty excited about the 100% efficacy rate. let's look under the hood a bit. this isn't the same type of clinical trial we're used to in drug or vaccine approval, is it? >> no, it's a bit unusual. the vaccine trial is referred to as a ring vaccine trial which means that cases were identified in guinea that indeed had ebola. then instead of preemptively ahead of time vaccinating whole groups of populations, the individuals were divided into two separate groups, groups that were vaccinated immediately who had contact with the index case or cases or contact of contacts,
and another group that was vaccinated 21 days later. so it was more of an acute response to an outbreak by trying to protect those people who were, in reality or potentially exposed to the index cases. that's not the standard way that you do a vaccine trial. so, although these results are really quite encouraging, there is still a lot more work to be done on vaccines for ebola, and that's exactly where we're heading for this, to get many more people in a larger trial and to also determine, is it effect durable? in other words, if i vaccinate you now, will you be protected six months, eight months or a year from now and just how powerful that protective response would be, and that's really the kinds of questions that still remain a bit unanswered, despite the fact that this finding now from the guinea trial is really quite
impressive. >> sreenivasan: there was one vaccine tested at the the center of this but there are multiple strains of ebola. >> that's another question that needs to be answered and that's a gad point you bring up. this vaccine tested in guinea was specifically against one particular strain of ebola. there is a second train called the sudan strain but maybe two other strains, and when we ultimately get what we consider to be the optimal season, we would want one that has a great durability of effect, that would be effective over a considerable period of time, and something that would be able to protect essentially against all strains of ebola because there are different strains that pop up in different parts of sub-saharan africa, and we have clear-cut experience with that. >> sreenivasan: so given the test that's just been done with this specific vaccine, this is not a vaccine you just get once,
you will need a lot more tests to figure out the combination of different viruses and how long they last. >> absolutely. those are critical questions you ask. some people when they hear about how really impressive the results are, they think, okay, we're done now with the ebola vaccine, we're going to move on because we've solved the problem. we haven't come anywhere near solving the problem because there are still so many unanswered questions that we need to pursue before we get a vaccine that we feel would be universally able to be widespread administered to people to protect them from outbreaks of ebola from multiple different strains. there is a lot of work to be done. >> sreenivasan: i wanted to ask you about the avian flu in asia now. we have reports of millions of birds in korea and other parts of asia that have been culled already. how concerned should we about this? >> we need to pay attention to this. i don't think there is a need to
panic about it because we have been following outbreaks of bird flu for decades. the first time we got involved with it here was back in the '90s in hong kong when you had the h5n1 which are viruses that are influenza viruses which are fundamentally viruses of water foul, chickens and sometimes other animals. they rarely jump species and infeskt humans, and when they infect humans, they do not efficiently spread from human-to-human. that's where most to have the bird flu situation is right now. having said that, we always have to be alert for the threat or the possibility that they may, when they jump species like from a chicken or another type of a foul to a human, that they then become really efficient in spreading from person to person. we've not seen that thus far, hopefully we'll never see it, but we've even begun trying to
develop vaccines against some of these avian type flus. so no need to panic but don't just blow it off. we've got to keep our eye out on it. >> sreenivasan: dr. anthony fauci, thank you so much. >> good to be with you. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: mark shields and david brooks take on this week's news, and our troops send their holiday cheer. but first, thousands of haitians are waiting to get into the u.s., and thousands more are on their way through latin america. hurricane matthew-- which killed hundreds of haitians and destroyed thousands of homes-- has upped the stakes for their migrating relatives. jean guerrero, our partners at reporter has the story. local station kpbs fronteras reporter has the story. >> reporter: the surge of haitians started in may.
u.s. customs officials couldn't process them fast enough, and a backlog formed in tijuana. here, shelters like desayunador salesiano have had to improvise spaces for the migrants as they wait for their turn to cross into the u.s. the destruction wrought by hurricane matthew about a month and a half ago has left these haitian migrants more desperate than ever. >> ( translated ): they have family members who've suffered, and their concern is to help them from here, or from the united states. >> reporter: one of those haitians is frederic saint cois, whose family in haiti survived the devastating floods. but he wants to send them money so they can get by in the newly ravaged country. he hopes to find a job in the u.s. >> ( translated ): we came here looking for life. >> reporter: he said he spent a lot of money to make it this far, as did his fellow travelers. the journey involved long walking stretches, bus travel and more through some of latin america's most dangerous
countries. >> ( translated ): i saw many, many people die. >> reporter: that's why sudden shifts in u.s. immigration policy have left him so bewildered. since the 2010 earthquake, the u.s. has been letting haitians in under a humanitarian parole provision. but a few weeks ago, responding to the overwhelming influx of migrants, the u.s. revoked that privilege. the decision to resume deportations was motivated by improved conditions in haiti. but hurricane matthew struck a few days later, plunging the country back into crisis. even so, officials continued detaining and deporting new haitian arrivals. but recent overcrowding in detention centers have led officials to allow some haitian migrants to enter the u.s. among the haitians who managed to cross into the u.s. before the policy changes is sandra alexandre, whose baby was born hours after she crossed the border. the baby's father, volcy, missed the birth and still hasn't met his daughter. he was supposed to cross a few days after sandra, right when the policy shifted. when he crossed, he was placed
in an immigration detention center. he still hasn't been released. >> ( translated ): it's very difficult for me and for the baby. i don't know when he's going to come here. >> reporter: alexandre says she wishes she'd known the policy was going to change before making the dangerous trek through latin america with her fiancé, while she was nine months pregnant. many times she almost gave up. >> i was like, "it's too difficult, i won't make it," but volcy said, "yes, you can make it. little by little, but you're going to make it. be brave." >> reporter: she says she can't go back to haiti. >> ( translated ): in haiti, life is very difficult. very, very, very difficult.
it's also very dangerous. >> reporter: in the meantime, tijuana residents are responding to haitians with unusual hospitality. all day, they stop by the migrant shelters where haitians congregate, giving away clothes, dropping off snacks like sandwiches and sports drinks, even preparing full meals. >> ( translated ): we come every day with them. we bring them candy, food, we're with them a little while, yesterday, they braided my whole head of hair. >> reporter: she remembers when she first saw the large crowds of haitians on the streets. it was an unusual sight-- only about 1% of mexico's population is black. aguilar went online to find out what was happening. she learned the migrants were coming from countries with political and economic crises, and she wanted to help. >> ( translated ): we come to give them a happy moment. since they lack everything, we want to make sure they don't lack a smile. >> reporter: the streets of tijuana have long been filled
with migrants heading to the u.s., as well as the deported-- mostly from southern mexico and central america. those migrants are often shunned by the locals, forced to live out of sight, in sewers. when tijuana residents recently set up a table on the street, offering fried chicken, rice and beans to the haitians, a mexican migrant got in line. jorge cruz, a tijuana taxi driver who brought the chicken, was not happy about that. >> ( translated ): i told him, "you're mexican, what do you lack?" >> reporter: despite the warm welcome in mexico, the haitians are intent on making it into the u.s. >> ( translated ): i have faith in christ, in god. god is always helping me. >> reporter: he knows he might be placed in a detention center and deported. but that's not going to stop him from trying, and hoping. for the pbs newshour, i'm jean guerrero in tijuana, mexico. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks.
that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. gentlemen, welcome so let's start out talking about two major foreign policy waves, i guess you could say, that donald trump is making today, david. he directly intervened with the white house as they were deciding how to handle this u.n. resolution. on israel, there is now an open rift with president obama. this is different, isn't it, from the way we see a transition normally work? >> certainly, the country can't have two presidents at once, so the tradition has been to hang back if you're the president-elect and wait for your time in office. trump is not a hang-back kind of guy, and he has shifted. president obama has shifted american policy in a much more critical way in israel with the settlements than the previous presidents. prmp's ambassador to israel is
further to the right than almost anyone in israel and almost opposes the two-state solution. so we are about to see a tremendous shift in american policy toward the middle east. >> woodruff: how do you see this? are there consequences of this or is this going to be something we look back on and say, well, that's what happened. >> no, i think donald trump is acting as he has throughout his entire public career of a year and a half and that is to be impulsive, be spontaneous, keep his opponents or adversaries off balance. that's his approach. he is not into nuance, that is not his strength, and the president said this week, he's enat a timeled to his own policies and but just hope that it's deliberate and thoughtful, and this strikes me as anything but. >> woodruff: in addition to
israel, we were sitting here talking about nuclear policy because donald trump tweeted, as far as we can tell, out of the blue yesterday, david, that the united states needs to beef up its nuclear arsenal. he did an interview with nbc this morning and i'm just reading the quote here. he said let it be an arms race, we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all. so what does this say? >> yeah, one of the things i think about with donald trump is what are his words actually attached to? with a normal president like president obama, he says a word, and that's because there has been some thought he's done and policy papers an aides and advisors and then there is a connection to an actual set of policies, so the words have roots into actual stuff. with trump, i'm not sure the words have roots. they are emanations of his psyche, but has he thought it through? is there an argument if is there a policy implication? even in this nuclear thing, he
says we should be stronger and expand. what does that mean? what is concrete in what he's saying? as the world learns to interpret donald trump, are these just inig natic words floating on air or actually shifts in policy and will they change moment by moment, day by day without any underlying connection to the actual stuff of governance. i don't know. >> woodruff: mark, we're talking about nuclear arms policy, something in the past people spent time thinking about before statements were made. you said a minute ago you think he's keeping everybody off balance. >> i think that's part of it. the points david make deserve reflection and consideration. i think donald trump, we have to understand, has not had experiences like any other president we've ever had. he's never been accountable to anybody, save donald trump. he has no investors. he has debtors, but he doesn't have a board of directors, he
doesn't have a corporate structure he's had to answer to. so he's been able to kind of wing it at every stage. i just don'tty he understands -- i just don't think he understands -- the point david was making is when a president makes a stairntle judy, it is studied around the world, the nuance, is there an emphasis here, and what was in the last statement that's missing, perhaps maybe overly analyzed. but because the president's words really carry an eenormous significance and are usually reflected of great consideration and even arguments within that one side is weighted, one particular paragraph or sentence, while the other said, no, that shouldn't be in there. so i just think that trump has not made the transition, it seems to me, from candidate to even president in waiting. he has been a slow winner. he won't in his rallies to
berate hillary clinton. that sense of gracious, generosity or larger vision has eluded him so far. >> woodruff: and some people, david, have looked at what he's doing and said this is really part of a strategy -- keep people off balance and keep them guessing about what you're going to do. >> i think that's a rationalization for the way he is. it does have the effect of keeping people off balance. i'm not sure that's a good thing. to bring us back to the nuclear thing, keeping people off balance with nuclear weapons is not a good thing at all. >> no. so given, as mark describes, sort of -- he's not part of a process. so i think there are two things that could happen as a result of this. one, it's possible to imagine him having relatively little influence on his own government because he will be off in his own world and the agencies and the permanent bureaucracy will go on its merry way. there is a lot of passive aggressive behavior in all governments. but statement because he's not
tied down, there could be a lot of eredickness and he could get caught up in the machoism, let's say with vladimir putin, and more eredick with nuclear weapons attached. >> republicans and democrats have been adversaries for a long time on foreign policy, but, i mean, it could be a common interest at some point sort of uniting in solidarity. every president, judy -- i mean, john kennedy began in 196 1963 h a nuclear test treaty agreeing with the soviets to ban all testing in the atmosphere or space or underwater. that has been the guide of every president. ronald reagan who came in as the leader of the toughest soviet block, the evil empire, i mean, ended up as really a possible
arms ereduction advocate, a champion of it. when mikhail gorbachev -- you know, i mean, it's been the policy of both parties, presidents of both parties, and just to see something like this cast aside as an aside, as his own people are going on the air last night explaining what he actually meant was to stabilize or modernize, then he goes on nbc this morning before the show and says, no, no, what he said originally he meant. >> woodruff: an arms race. yes. >> woodruff: so he seems to have a lot of support among republicans and even democrats for his position on israel. nuclear is something different. >> yes. >> woodruff: i want to ask you about incoming trump administration potential conflicts of interest. story in the "wall street journal" this week, david, about tom price, the congressman from
georgia having done stock trading in the last few years and health medical companies, he's going to be overseeing these policies, was voting observe these policies as a congressman, h he will be overseeing that at the department of health and human services. then eric trump, his son and the charitable organization. how do we get our arms around all this? >> mostly, to me it's about public trust. can you trust people to do their public service roles in a straight-up, honorable way on the merits of the issues. i think most people go into government for the right reasons and do things as they see them on the merits of the issues. but it doesn't help if there's the appearance and doesn't pep when the standards where we separate public and private life
begin to erode. you leave private life behind when you go into pluck life because you are inhabiting a role the constitution gave you. i don't know that trump has had that distinction in his head, so i think there may be an erosion of that different standard, consciousness, and i think it's likely we'll see private enrichment in office and people have to resign, because once the standards go, behavior tends to go. >> woodruff: but, mark, are his supporters prepared to accept a different standard for donald trump? >> any part of donald trump's appeal is he's a guy that cuts accordance and gets deals and maybe breaks a speed limit. i think there was sort of a roguish, rascally, but i get things done even if i break the rules. i do think, you know, the words of jefferson echo even today, when a man assumes a public trust, he must assume he is public property, and that's exactly what's the case here.
tom price, i don't know huh he had time to make votes on the floor, he had such an active stock portfolio. and in areas that he was legislating on. so that will be a subject of hearings. but donald trump's statement that because he's not taking a salary doesn't mean he has a conflict of interest, i'm sorry, he has major oil interests, urged the appointment of the e.p.a. administrator, and was championing for him, of course, there are conflicts of interest. it doesn't come down to a salary. it comes down to your own enrichment and is there a difference, is there coop september in donald trump's mind of public policy that there is a public interest that is separate and distinct from personal interest? i don't know if there are people around him, certainly haven't been throughout his career, who are saying this is in the
greater public interest, it just doesn't seem to be part whether in his personal behavior, personal comportment, doesn't seem to be a strong commitment or value of public service. >> woodruff: we seem to come back to the question of what he was used to in the private secialght and what he faces in the public sector. >> right. he's one thing. some people are very different in different circumstances. he's not. he's one thing. he's been one thing. we were talking about he's got to moderate his campaigns. it's worked for him, at least by his rights. i imagine he will be this way straight through. i can't imagine a 70-year-old guy will change. i keep coming back to how much of this is literal and how much is a marketing guy who treats words as tools for money. so we'll have to adjust and not react a lot of the time and think,something's substantively actually happening. >> woodruff: all right,
gentlemen, we wish you a merry christmas, happy thanksgiving, happy hanukkah and every holiday that's coming. thank you both, david. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: finally, to celebrate the holiday spirit, a special sing-a-long. join in with these members of the military, serving around the world. >> ♪ on the first day of christmas my true love gave to me: ♪ a partridge in a pear tree on the second day of christmas ♪ my true love gave to me: two turtle doves ♪ and a partridge in a pear tree on the third day of christmas ♪ my true love gave to me: three french hens ♪ two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree ♪ on the fourth day of christmas my true love gave to me: ♪ four calling birds three french hens ♪ two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree ♪ on the fifth day of christmas my true love gave to me: ♪ five golden rings four calling birds ♪ three french hens two turtle doves ♪ and a partridge in a pear tree on the sixth day of christmas ♪ my true love gave to me: six geese a laying ♪ five golden rings four calling birds ♪ three french hens two turtle doves ♪ and a partridge in a pear tree on the seventh day of christmas ♪ my true love gave to me: seven swans a swimming ♪ six geese a laying five golden rings ♪ four calling birds three french hens ♪ two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree ♪ on the eighth day of christmas my true love gave to me: ♪ eight maids a milking
seven swans a swimming ♪ six geese a laying five golden rings ♪ four calling birds three french hens ♪ two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree ♪ on the ninth day of christmas my true love gave to me: ♪ nine ladies dancing eight maids a milking ♪ seven swans a swimming six geese a laying ♪ five golden rings four calling birds ♪ three french hens two turtle doves ♪ and a partridge in a pear tree on the tenth day of christmas ♪ my true love gave to me: ten lords a leaping ♪ nine ladies dancing eight maids a milking ♪ seven swans a swimming six geese a laying ♪ five golden rings four calling birds ♪ three french hens two turtle doves ♪ and a partridge in a pear tree on the 11th day of christmas ♪ my true love gave to me:
11 pipers piping ♪ ten lords a leaping nine ladies dancing ♪ eight maids a milking seven swans a swimming ♪ six geese a laying five golden rings ♪ four calling birds three french hens ♪ two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree ♪ on the 12th day of christmas my true love gave to me: ♪ 12 drummers drumming 11 pipers piping ♪ ten lords a leaping nine ladies dancing ♪ eight maids a milking seven swans a swimming ♪ six geese a laying five golden rings ♪ four calling birds three french hens ♪ two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree >> woodruff: they keep our country safe, and can you imagine a better way to say
merry christmas? and on the newshour online right now: everything you learned about reindeer from your favorite christmas cartoons is probably wrong. our science team sets the record straight with seven things you might not know about these important arctic animals. all that and more is on our website: pbs.org/newshour. tonight on "washington week:" president obama was elected on the promise of hope and change. eight years later, what did he deliver? a closer look at the obama legacy, tonight on "washington week." on pbs newshour weekend saturday: a new stage production that gives shakespeare's "othello" the hip hop treatment. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. if you observe it, merry christmas, and if not, have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: lincoln financial is committed to helping you take charge of your future.
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